MSN has a name and expected due date to its in-utero keyword bid management platform. The product is a critical component of the portal and its strategy going forward.
The paid search offering will be called MSN Keywords and launch in a closed beta come October, a spokesperson said. The pilot will be limited to 500 invitation-only marketers. The details come on the heels of Ask Jeeves’ heralding its own sponsored listings platform.
MSN’s paid search product will be the first component of MSN adCenter, a broad toolset that will enable ad placement throughout the whole network. In March, Microsoft demonstrated how adCenter would work, and said a keyword bidding tool would be its first component.
A version of MSN Keywords is now being tested in Singapore and France, Microsoft said.
Until the wide release of the Keywords product, MSN will continue to rely on rival Yahoo to provide pay-per-click listings alongside its search results. Their agreement expires next summer.
Microsoft shares details of the PPC platform amid buzz over a similar product from Ask Jeeves, announced Monday. AJ parent InterActiveCorp hopes the offering will eventually replace the syndicated paid search listings it now receives from Google.